NBA Eastern Conference: Most important need for each Southeast Division team heading into the NBA Draft
The just completed 2018-19 NBA season was not kind to the Southeast Division. The only team to see playoff action in 2019 were the Orlando Magic and they needed an 8-2 finish in their last ten games to secure a playoff spot. The Magic proceeded to last 5 games against the eventual NBA Champions the Toronto Raptors, stealing a 104-101 series-opening game on a D.J. Augustin 3-pointer.
Other than the Magic’s 42-40 record placing them 7th in the Eastern Conference, the remaining 4 teams in the Southeast Division missed the playoffs. As a result, the Division’s teams will make 7 draft selections in the 1st round of the 2019 NBA Draft and three of those selections belong to the Atlanta Hawks. Here is a look at the needs that each Southeast Division team might be looking to address at the 2019 NBA Draft.
#5 Atlanta Hawks
2018-19 NBA regular season: 12th seed with a 29-53 record
The Atlanta Hawks had a poor season record-wise at 29-53. They did benefit from the exciting talents of one rookie Trae Young whom they acquired at last year's draft along with Dallas’ 1st round pick for 2019 for the rights to Luka Doncic who was the only rookie to outplay Trae Young this season.
Along with John Collins, the Hawks have a splendid inside out combo but need more. Young struggled in shooting accuracy (41.8% and 3-point shooting 32.4%) mainly because he was relied on heavily to produce and create offense. The Hawks also need some experienced ball handlers to make better decisions with the basketball as they were last in turnovers committed.
With the 8th, 10th, and 17th overall picks in the draft, the Hawks could improve their fortunes at the NBA Draft. The Hawks need shooters and Duke University standout Cameron Reddish could help with the #8 selection. Reddish was somewhat inconsistent for Duke but could help take the pressure off of Trae Young with his shooting and ball handling.
With the 10th pick, Atlanta may do well to select Gonzaga junior Rui Hachimura. At 6’8”, Hachimura is a versatile PF/SF who is a good decision maker and would provide Atlanta with another young talent who can make wise passes in an effort to cut down on turnovers Hachimura is also athletic and has a good mid-range game again adding another scorer who will help Young be more judicious in his shot selection and shot frequency.
The Hawks also own the 17th pick and if P.J. Washington from Kentucky University is available he might also be a great pick up for the Hawks. He is a good mid-range scorer and shot the 3-pointer at a 42.3% clip in his sophomore year.
If they get this trio of young talent added to the roster, the potential with three 6’8” wing players to defend the perimeter, shoot from long range, run the floor and handle the basketball with smartness would improve the Hawks' on-court performance significantly. If not immediately, they will be a better team in the near future.